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Eric Schmidt Finally Explains How Google Works

The animated video that Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt shared on (of course) Google+ this morning is really a piece of content marketing promoting his new book How Google Works, written with the help of advisor/former SVP of Products Jonathan Rosenberg and Director of Executive Communications Alan Eagle.

A more appropriate title might be “How Business Works in the Age of Google.” Still, it’s a useful clip that reinforces some lessons crucial to both communications teams and their clients. And it’s short at just over three minutes.

The video confirms a few things we know:

  • Influencers are everywhere
  • Truly “smart creative” ideas win the day
  • Businesses and agencies alike need to facilitate a culture that encourages risk-taking and “innovation”

For PR, the key message is to be nimble: the act of relying on any rigid business plan or the words of a single, big-name advisor will probably not help a given company or agency achieve its goals. Sharing, communication and consensus are key.

What do we think?

Disney PR Vet Shares Secrets: Sex, Drugs, Porn Stars, Etc.

Today in Books We Will Not Read news, a veteran of Disney’s corporate communications department turned memoirist/founder of his own agency lived a fairly wild life in Hollywood.

That’s really the sum of the story here as broken by The Hollywood Reporter: Josh Sabarra, who founded Beverly Hills firm Breaking News PR, just released an e-book called Porn Again.

The idea behind the pun is that Sabarra was a 31-year-old virgin who was corrupted by the entertainment industry. Here’s a trailer from “the gay best friend you always wanted” complete with details about his addiction to plastic surgery:

A bit more after the jump.

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Consultant Caught Telling Energy Execs to Play Dirty If They Want More Fracking

simpsons fracking1Looks like Richard Berman, founder of Berman & Company, a consultancy in Washington DC, got “Romney’d.”

Berman spoke to a group of energy executives at an event in Colorado Springs back in June. During his remarks, he told the executives, they can “either win dirty or lose pretty,” attempting to persuade them to fund an advertising and PR campaign, Big Green Radicals, to the tune of $3 million. For this campaign, Berman was looking to humiliate environmentalists and their celebrity friends with bits of dirt thereby turning the tide in favor of oil and gas companies. Among those in the room were Halliburton and Devon Energy.

“This is an endless war,” he said. “And you have the budget for it.”

And how do we know these comments were made? Because one of the execs in the room didn’t like it. So he recorded it. And gave it over to The New York Times. Busted!

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‘Dumb Ways to Die’ Does Halloween

On this Throwback Thursday, here’s a new campaign from the team behind one of our favorite PSA series: “Dumb Ways to Die.”

This one is interesting in that it’s not a standalone piece: it’s “interactive” in allowing users to make a Choose Your Own Adventure-style decision: trick or treat? Here’s the intro:

Tricks and treats below.

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Hotel CEO on Airbnb: ‘We Wish We’d Thought of It’

Well, yeah. If you have any hospitality or “sharing economy” clients, you’re going to want to check out this interview with Choice Hotels CEO Steve Joyce, which ran on Bloomberg yesterday.

Given the fact that Airbnb recently decided to change course and (sort of) “play nice” with New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman, this looks like a “next step” in the conversation between traditional service providers and their “disruptors.” In that story, an Airbnb spokesperson said “We need to work together on some sensible rules.” Flash forward to yesterday:

(If you can’t see this video, you might need to click the top link. It’s being difficult.)

A key quote:

“We love this new collaborative approach…and we’re trying to figure out how to take advantage of it.”

Sounds like capitulation, doesn’t it?

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Here’s Your First PR Sitcom, ‘Seriously Distracted’

In the past we’ve mentioned the fact that depictions of PR in pop culture don’t tend to be too positive. The fictional names that come to mind are Samantha Jones, Olivia Pope and…The Kroll Show. There are some exceptions like FXX’s You’re the Worst, but despite the fact that its female lead works in PR, we don’t see much of what she does beyond hanging with the rap group that seems to be her only client.

When we heard back in March that PopSugar would produce its own mini-sitcom about the industry, we were…interested. Last week, “Seriously Distracted” debuted on PopSugar’s entertainment and celebrity sites, and we were happy to see that it stars Amy Sedaris, brother of serial embellish-er David Sedaris and former star of Stephen Colbert vehicle Strangers with Candy.

Here’s the first episode, guest-starring Kimiko Glenn of Orange is the New Black:

Honest question, since we’ve never worked with unjustly famous people: do they really get this bad?

In summary: the employees of Le Grande PR are (almost) all female and their prospective clients are ignorant, self-obsessed celebrities. But Sedaris’s hair is great, isn’t it? And did you catch the 30 Rock reference?

Second episode after the jump. It involves middle-aged women on Tinder.

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Florida Association for Women Lawyers Not a Fan of NBC’s Bad Judge

kate walshHave you watched the NBC program Bad Judge? Doesn’t look like many people have. Except perhaps the Florida Association for Women Lawyers. The president of the Miami-Dade chapter, Deborah Baker, has sent a strongly-worded letter to the CEO of the network Steve Burke asking him to cancel the show because it’s a step backward for womankind.

“The show depicts a female judge as unethical, lazy, crude, hyper-sexualized, and unfit to hold such an esteemed position of power,” the letter says.

And there’s more: “A misogynist who believes that women in power cannot control their sexuality, their bodies and their professional or personal conduct would have their views endorsed by this show.”

Yikes. But in fairness, this show isn’t trying to be Law & Order.

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How Not to Give an Interview (or Sing the National Anthem)

So you’ve probably heard about last night’s botched version of our own national anthem — and the subsequent apology from, depending on where you read it, “nu metaler Aaron Lewis” or “country singer Aaron Lewis” (how can one be both?!).

That’s after the jump, but here’s another example of how not to behave when the cameras are on, via Vision Vancouver and Kirk LaPointe, a former journalist running for governor of Vancouver on the brilliantly named Non-Partisan Association ticket.

We can debate how effective this “walk away” method turned out to be. Later, LaPointe elaborated on the matter at hand in a Reddit AMA, writing that he does not support current proposals to raise money for public transit via a carbon tax because “…that tax has to be revenue-neutral, and more than half of the money is returned to lower-income British Columbians. So, directing it to transit penalizes those who can least afford it.”

On second thought, we can see why he didn’t bother answering a question about who came up with a proposal he doesn’t even support in the first place. And we like the fact that he runs a blog on journalistic standards and ethics; the Ford brothers definitely can’t make that claim.

Now for that botched national anthem:

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There Are Safety Instructions Somewhere In Air New Zealand’s New ‘Hobbit’-Themed Video

Air New Zealand is back with their latest safety video, this time starring many of the cast members from The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, which opens December 17th. Amid all of the giant birds, wizards and celebrity cameos, there might be one thing that gets lost: the safety message.
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Brad Pitt Uses ‘Between Two Ferns’ to Promote His Charity

Another week, another episode of the Funny or Die/Zach Galifianakis series “Between Two Ferns.”

When last we checked in on our hirsute comedian, he was interviewing the president — and we argued that the move was a smart one to promote enrollment in the Affordable Care Act.

In this episode, Brad Pitt deals with a bit of Galifianakis’ gentle ribbing to (sort of) promote his charity, Make It Right.

Note how he managed to drop the name in there before Louis C.K. made his appearance.

Pitt’s org built homes in New Orleans’ ninth ward for those displaced by Hurricane Katrina before running into some bad PR around the beginning of the year thanks to reports that some of the houses were “rotting from the inside out.

So, while this appearance may  not lead to thousands of donations, it was a pretty good decision on Pitt’s part to play along so he could make the mention, no?